Second, when a team wins, other players in the league take notice. If the Lakers start winning more games, especially this team so decimated by injuries, it makes them more appealing to potential free agents. As Scott has pointed out, it sets a tone, a winning attitude. Nobody wants to play for a team that believes it can't win.
It should be noted, Kyrie Irving didn't turn Cleveland into an instant winner. It wasn't until LeBron James returned and Kevin Love signed on that Cleveland became a contender and still they've struggled much of the season.
If you root for your team to lose, you are not a Lakers fan. It's that simple. You can't put a little flag on your car when the Lakers win and then take it off when they don't and pretend to be a fan. You stand by your team through thick and thin because that's what fans do. You can be critical, unhappy, disappointed, but you can't be a tanker or a back-stabber.
Will someone please get a message to Bill Plaschke? The Kobe Bryant era is over. Over! Few fans care about a final playoff run for Kobe. Lakers fans are looking forward to rebuilding a championship team, not a mediocre playoff team. Whether this year's team wins a few more games is meaningless to the long-term goal. No true sports fan roots for his team to intentionally lose games, but losing a few games to improve draft position is not the end of the world either.
When a boxer loses a fight intentionally, it is called a "dive". The losing boxer will have his share of the purse held up, lose his boxing license and possibly (probably) be banned from the sport.
Today, there are several NBA teams losing games intentionally so they can improve their lottery position. If these teams are not going to play to their fullest ability, the owners should reduce the price of tickets to match the play of the team.
If half of the Lakers' fan base is rooting for losses and the organization's hardship application is granted, holding open tryouts like the 1976 Eagles to fill the 16th roster spot may be the most compelling way to grant their wish.
Patient at Pauley?
I have watched the soap opera known as UCLA basketball since John Wooden's retirement 40 years ago with amazement. When are the die-hard UCLA basketball fans going to realize that they are a huge part of the problem? Every single coach who goes there ends up being symbolically burned at the stake in a matter of time. Judging by calls to talk radio programs, and Internet discussion forums, they are already dragging Steve Alford to the fire.
In truth, Alford has done a remarkable job this year with a young team that for all practical purposes has no bench. UCLA lost five players off of a team that was 28-9 a year ago.
UCLA, if you run off Alford after just two seasons, you will only make the program into a greater national joke than it is already seen as by many in the college basketball pundit world. Don't even think about it....
I have been an avid follower of UCLA basketball since I graduated many years ago. I previously sent a letter, probably in the early '90s, that was published on this page. The subject was Bill Walton and his constant inane babbling about just about everything except the game that he is supposedly covering.
Nothing has changed. My only salvation is to turn the sound off on the TV so that I can enjoy the game. I am always amazed that ESPN and Pac-12 Networks continue to employ him.
I tried to enjoy the UCLA-USC basketball game on TV. Instead I had to endure yet again the ramblings of Bill Walton. According to Bill, UCLA should play only five players, "milk the cow" as he put it. Has Walton heard of this program called Kentucky and a guy named Calipari who plays 10? Walton is so oblivious that he does not understand there are four mandatory TV timeouts per half.
Bill, spare us your stories and go to concerts.
By the way, UCLA won, but it was hard to tell with Walton's constant chatter.
Craig A. Horowitz
Rehab for Hamilton
What would we think if Josh Hamilton's apparent substance abuse relapse was instead diagnosed as cancer or a stroke? Probably, "Sad. He's battling it again. Wish the great player well."
Yet MLB (and all sports) treat such relapses as a criminal offense, not the illness they are despite growing evidence to the contrary. Stigma and shame are rewarded with suspensions.
It's time for baseball to lead the way and end suspensions and instead assign troubled players, coaches and owners "for reassignment." That will create opportunities for comebacks as compelling as any walk-off homer.
If Robin Williams was right when he joked, "Cocaine is God's way of telling you you are making too much money," then Josh Hamilton is the tragic punch line.
In the pink
Having lost my mother to cancer and had other friends and family stricken with various types of cancer, I applaud the Narbonne girls' basketball team for attempting to increase awareness within the basketball community. Right on, ladies. I hope you win.
I have a quick and simple solution to end the impasse between the parties involved in allowing the Dodgers to be seen in only 30% of the L.A. market. Simply have Vin Scully boycott the broadcast of games beginning on Opening Day. Problem solved by Game 2.
It sure is great that Juan Uribe sees the Dodgers in the World Series, because it's looking more and more like the rest of us will see nothing.
Burned on ice
I'm not saying that your hockey coverage is too sparse, but when my kid saw last Saturday's front-page photo from the Kings' game, he asked why the Stanley Cup Finals were starting in March.
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